West Indies legend Sir Vivian Richards has admitted to feeling let down by the Ricky Skerritt-led Cricket West Indies (CWI), following its controversial decision to dismiss the coaching staff ahead of the ICC World Cup.
Less than a month after taking the reins of the association from the four-term president Dave Cameron, the decision was taken to dismiss interim coach Richard Pybus and the entire selection panel.
The decision was particularly debatable with the ICC World Cup just a few weeks away and the interim-coach and team having put on an outstanding performance against England, the world’s number one team, and eventual World Cup winners only a month prior.
Despite being a huge supporter of the Skerritt slate ahead of it being elected, Richards strongly believed it was a major misstep.
“To be fair I did put my everything behind my support for the individual who is at the helm, but I wasn’t happy with the so-called coming into that particular position and just the way in which subtle little changes were made to get certain individuals in place for them to be managers and coaches of the tour to the World Cup. I didn’t like the start and I made my point,” Richards said.
“I didn’t like the start. I am hoping that the finish is much better than the start.”
Meanwhile, the batting legend also insisted that star batsman Chris Gayle should be allowed to retire on his own terms provided he continues to perform at a high level.
The 39-year-old Windies star was thought to have retired following the third One Day International (ODI) against India earlier this week. Ahead of the match, talk in some quarters surrounded the batsman continued presence in the team, particularly after a poor performance at the ICC World Cup and a combined total of 15 in the two prior games.
The big left-hander, however, gave a stirring response to his critics with a smashing 72 off just 41 deliveries. In addition, Gayle insisted that he had not announced his retirement following the series, creating a conundrum for the selectors in upcoming ODI series.
West Indies bowling legend Curtly Ambrose has suggested that Gayle should step aside to allow the team to focus on new talent, with the next World Cup in mind. Richards, however, believes Gayle could still be a valuable contributor to the Windies squad.
“We can agree that one particular thing is that he is not as mobile in the field as when he was younger but if he can put in those types of performances, that in my opinion would suggest that we can still have him around to add that type of experience,” he added.
“I love to see class, I appreciate class and Chris brings this. If he cannot perform like he did on a consistent basis well then we can start thinking other things like whether he should be there or not.”